By Precious Igbonwelundu
Was 60-year-old businessman, Rasak Adeola Jikoji killed over his nomination as Baale of Badore in Ajah, Lagos? Did he send a petition to the police alleging a threat to his life weeks before his murder? Was the petition acted on? Why are the police yet to begin an investigation into the assassination of the father of five on Sunday afternoon, April 25?
There are many more questions the police are expected to answer as relatives of the deceased are demanding justice.
Jikoji, The Nation gathered, was murdered in front of his residence at Jikoji Court, Unity Estate, Badore, Ajah, around 3 pm on Sunday by armed men said to have smashed his head with stone after gunning him down.
Trouble was said to have started for the deceased socialite after he was nominated by the Jikoji family to replace their late monarch, Baale Saliu Muraina Jokoji, who died last June.
It was gathered an extended meeting of the Jikoji family was held where Rasak was nominated and his name subsequently forwarded to the state government alongside a certificate of nomination for approval/ratification.
But unknown to the Jikoji family, a group known as Ilu Committee, who said they were the kingmakers had recommended another candidate, Waliu Adeniran, to the Eti-Osa Local Government Area (LGA) where they allegedly got a certificate from and subsequently filed a suit before a Lagos High Court against the Jikoji family.
Narrating how the deceased was murdered, an aide who was with him, said they were waylaid as they drove home from a piece of land Jikoji went to show some people.
The witness said while trying to escape from the assailants, their car ran into a ditch and they opened the door to flee but the killers caught up with the Baale-nominee.
He said: “On Saturday, he (Jikoji) called and asked me to represent him somewhere. He later called and said I should meet him on Sunday and that he would be hosting some people in a meeting.
“I got to his gate at Jikoji Court, Unity Estate, Badore, Ajah around 2.06 pm. When I got there, I saw a car in front of his gate and I thought those were the people he was having the meeting with.
“At 2.08 pm, I called him on the phone to notify him I was around. He sent someone to open the gate for me. I went inside and waited for him to end the meeting.
“About 25 minutes after the meeting, I saw all of them coming out. He brought the key to the car and gave me. He joined those people in their car and they drove to Corporation Junction.
“I believe he was showing them a piece of land that he owned in the area. About 15 minutes later, he came down from their car and joined me in the car and said we should go home.
“As we were going home, he was telling me about the need to raise money. As we were approaching the gate to his house, he wound up the glass and the car was already in park when I saw two guys coming towards the passenger’s side.
“One of them covered his face and the other had a gun. I believe that was when I heard one of them say, ‘it is you that wants to become the Baale’. They tried to shoot twice but the gun did not go off. So, they came in front of the car and tried to shoot again.
“I tried to put the car in reverse. The road was not very good and in our attempt to flee, the car ran into a ditch.
“He asked me to hurriedly run out. I opened the door before they got to us. As I was running, they caught up with him as he shouted and called for help.
“There was confusion and people were running. The guy that was running after me later went back. I looked behind me and saw that he (Jikoji) had already engaged the other assailant who had the pistol. I believe that the gun fell at a point.
“But the guy who went back picked a stone and smashed it on his head. The other guy picked up the pistol and shot him. I picked some stones and tried to attack them from afar but the other guy wanted to come after me and I fled.
“While I was running, I noticed a parked tricycle. I had initially noticed the tricycle on the premises without knowing anyone was there.
“It was after the deed was done that I saw that the tricycle rider went to pick them. When I went there, I called his wife and people came around. We tried to take him to the Lagos Island General Hospital where he was confirmed dead.
“I called policemen from the Langbasa Police Station but they did not take their calls. One that I called said I have to come physically before they can do anything. I believe he was the prime target if not they would have come for me as well. But they went for him.
“The victim’s wife’s brother made the official report to the police. The police went there and recovered the stone used to commit the crime. The vehicle is still in the ditch as we speak,” he said, appealing that his identity should not be revealed for fear the killers might come after him.
In her account of the incident, Mrs. Tofunmi Jikoji said she was in the kitchen when she was called only to go out and then saw her husband’s dead body.
The woman lamented she was still in shock because he left the house with some people who visited him to buy a piece of land only to be found cruelly murdered about 20 minutes after.
She said: “Some residents said they had sighted some strange faces around the community. I don’t know why the security guards did not challenge them. As he was coming, he was attacked. The vehicle fell into a ditch. The people who did the job we were told came in a tricycle. I heard the gunshot.
“I don’t know who to particularly point to. But he had several enemies. He was actively involved in a chieftaincy tussle and he got a favourable ruling recently.
“Imagine, somebody left the house and less than 15 minutes for him to get back, somebody came to the door and they asked him, ‘so, you want to be the baale?’ and then they used a rock to scatter his head to be sure he died. That was an assassination. So, who stands to benefit from such death? We deserve justice.
“Even if he offended anyone, he should not be murdered. He is from the ruling family of the community.
“I was in the kitchen when I was called and I ran out and saw his dead body in the middle of the street.
“I had been having uneasy feelings. I had been scared. He went out that morning and I was scared and started calling him as if I had a premonition of the incident. I don’t know why I was so afraid. Yes, he wrote a petition to Zone II about threats to his life. I have also been restless for three days.”
Also, the deceased’s lawyer, Olanrewaju Aiyedun, who condemned the murder, described it as a callous, criminal, satanic and vile act, adding that it would not go unpunished.
“I have absolute trust and unflagging confidence in the professional competence and impervious integrity of the police to unmask the murderers and bring the marauding and cannibalistic agents of untimely death to book.
“The assailants riled and taunted him that he wanted to become ‘Baale’ before they snuffed life out of him. So, those who paid for his murder are not far-fetched.
“He was shot at a very close range and they took a heavy stone to hit his head just to ensure he was dead, to satisfy their paymasters. They have murdered sleep and they will not also sleep,” he said.
Calls and a text message to the police spokesman, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, for comments on the incident, were neither answered nor replied at the time of this report.